How to Eliminate Outside Septic Tank Odor: Effective Solutions

If you’re experiencing a foul smell outside your home, it could be due to a septic tank odor. Septic tank odors are not only unpleasant but can also be hazardous to your health.

Understanding the root cause of the odor and taking appropriate measures to get rid of it is crucial to maintaining a healthy and safe home environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Identifying the source of the septic tank odor is crucial in getting rid of it.
  • Poor maintenance, overuse of household chemicals, and lack of proper ventilation can contribute to septic tank odor.
  • Regular maintenance, avoiding harsh chemicals, and ensuring proper ventilation can help prevent septic tank odor.

Understanding Septic Tank Odors

Septic tank odors are caused by the gases produced during the decomposition of organic matter in the septic tank.

These gases, such as methane and hydrogen sulfide, are released into the air and cause a foul smell. The gases can also be dangerous if they accumulate in high concentrations.

One common cause of septic tank odor is a clogged drain. When a drain is clogged, it can dry out and prevent ventilation, which is essential for combating odor.

Dry drains cannot filter gases building up in the tank, leading to a buildup of foul-smelling gases.

Another cause of septic tank odor is an unfavorable chemistry inside the septic tank, which kills off the helpful bacteria that break down organic matter. This can lead to a buildup of gases and a strong odor.

To prevent septic tank odors, it is essential to maintain your septic system properly. Regularly pumping your septic tank can help prevent the buildup of gases and ensure that the system is functioning correctly.

Additionally, avoid pouring harsh chemicals down your drains, as they can kill off the helpful bacteria in your septic system.

Identifying the Source of Odor

If you’re experiencing septic tank odor outside, the first step is to identify the source of the smell. This will help you determine the best course of action to take to get rid of the odor.

Inside the House

If you notice a sewage smell inside your house, it could be a sign of a problem with your plumbing system. Check your bathrooms, kitchen, basement, and any other areas with plumbing fixtures for signs of the smell.

One common cause of septic tank odor inside the house is a dried-out P-trap.

P-traps are U-shaped pipes that hold water to prevent sewer gas from entering your home. If a P-trap dries out, it can allow odors to escape into your home. Try running water down all of your drains to refill the P-traps.

In the Yard

If the odor is outside, your first step is to determine if it’s coming from the yard or near the septic tank. Check the area around your septic tank and drain field for any signs of odor.

If the smell is coming from the yard, it could be a sign of a problem with your drain field. A clogged or damaged drain field can cause sewage to back up and create a foul odor. Look for any signs of standing water or lush, green patches of grass, which can indicate a problem with the drain field.

Near the Septic Tank

If the odor is coming from near the septic tank, it could be a sign of a problem with the tank itself. Check the tank for any signs of leaks or damage. Look for any manholes, risers, or inspection pipes that may be leaking.

Another common cause of septic tank odor near the tank is a blocked plumbing vent stack. The plumbing vent stack is a pipe that allows air to enter the plumbing system, which helps prevent sewer gas from escaping into your home. If the vent stack is blocked, it can cause odors to escape into the yard.

Possible CauseSolution
Dried-out P-trapRun water down the drain to refill the P-trap
Clogged or damaged drain fieldContact a septic professional to inspect and repair the drain field
Leaking manholes, risers, or inspection pipesContact a septic professional to repair the leak
Blocked plumbing vent stackContact a plumber to clear the blockage

Identifying the source of septic tank odor outside is the first step in getting rid of the smell. By checking inside the house, in the yard, and near the septic tank, you can determine the cause of the odor and take the appropriate steps to fix the problem.

Factors Contributing to Septic Tank Odor

In this section, we will discuss the three main factors that contribute to septic tank odor: structural issues, environmental factors, and septic system maintenance.

Structural Issues

Structural issues with your septic system can cause septic tank odor. These issues can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Loose or damaged plastic or concrete lids: If the lids on your septic tank are loose or damaged, they can allow sewer gases to escape.
  • Broken sewer pipes: A broken sewer pipe can allow sewer gases to escape into your yard, causing a foul odor.
  • Tree roots: Tree roots can grow into your sewer pipes, causing them to become clogged and resulting in septic tank odor.
  • Full septic tank: If your septic tank is full, it can cause a backup of wastewater and sewage gases.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also contribute to septic tank odor. These factors can include:

  • Weather conditions: Wind patterns and temperature changes can affect the way that sewer gases are dispersed, causing them to be more noticeable at certain times.
  • pH levels: If the pH levels in your septic tank become too acidic, it can prevent the breakdown of organic waste and lead to septic tank odor.
  • Organic waste: When organic waste builds up in your septic tank, it can cause sludge and scum to form. This can lead to septic tank odor.
  • Anaerobic bacteria: Anaerobic bacteria thrive in environments with little to no oxygen, such as septic tanks. These bacteria can produce gases that cause septic tank odor.

Septic System Maintenance

Proper septic system maintenance is essential to preventing septic tank odor. Some maintenance tasks that can help prevent septic tank odor include:

  • Regular pumping: Having your septic tank pumped regularly can help prevent buildup of sludge and scum that can cause septic tank odor.
  • Inspecting and repairing: Regularly inspecting and repairing your septic system can help prevent structural issues that can cause septic tank odor.
  • Using septic-safe products: Using septic-safe products can help prevent the buildup of organic waste and the growth of anaerobic bacteria that can cause septic tank odor.

By understanding the factors that contribute to septic tank odor and taking steps to prevent it, you can keep your septic system running smoothly and avoid unpleasant odors in your yard.

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How to Eliminate Outside Septic Tank Odor

Solutions to Septic Tank Odor

If you’re experiencing septic tank odor outside, there are a few solutions you can try. In this section, we’ll cover home remedies and professional solutions that can help eliminate the odor.

Home Remedies

  1. Baking Soda: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that can help eliminate septic tank odor. Pour a cup of baking soda down the toilet bowl or drain once a week to keep the odor at bay.
  2. Vinegar: Vinegar is another natural deodorizer that can help eliminate septic tank odor. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and pour it down the drain. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with water.
  3. Helpful Bacteria: There are biological additives available that can help introduce helpful bacteria into your septic system. These bacteria can help break down waste and eliminate the odor. Look for products that contain live bacteria cultures.
  4. Coffee Grounds: Used coffee grounds can help absorb odors. Simply sprinkle them around the area where the odor is coming from and let them sit for a few hours. Then, sweep them up and dispose of them.

Professional Solutions

  1. Pumping the Tank: If your septic tank is full, it may be time to have it pumped. This will remove the excess waste and help eliminate the odor. Make sure to schedule regular pumping to prevent future odor problems.
  2. Carbon Filters: Carbon filters can be installed on your septic system to help eliminate odor. These filters work by trapping the odor-causing gases before they can escape into the air.
  3. Pretreatment Unit: A pretreatment unit can be installed before your septic tank to help break down waste and eliminate odor. These units use a combination of aerobic treatment and constructed wetlands to treat the waste.
  4. Professional Plumber or Septic Professional: If the odor persists, it may be time to call in a professional plumber or septic professional. They can inspect your system and recommend the best solution for your specific situation.

It’s important to address septic tank odor outside as soon as possible, as it can be a public health threat. If you have an ejector sump pump or ejector sump pump basket, make sure they are working properly. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent future odor problems. Avoid using cleaning products that can harm the helpful bacteria in your septic system.


In conclusion, getting rid of septic tank odor outside is important for both your health and the environment.

Remember to regularly maintain your septic tank by pumping it every 3-5 years and avoiding flushing non-biodegradable materials down the toilet. Additionally, make sure your plumbing vent pipe is properly extended to diffuse odors and that your building sewer lines are not clogged.

If you notice a persistent odor, consider installing an odor control system or contacting a professional septic tank service to assess the situation.

By taking these preventative measures, you can ensure that your septic system operates efficiently and odor-free for years to come.

Remember, a well-maintained septic tank should not emit any type of odor. If you do notice a smell, it is important to address the issue promptly to avoid potential health hazards and environmental damage.

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